By 1898 a rear-wheel drive electric bicycle, which used a driving belt along the outside edge of the wheel, was patented by Mathew J. Steffens. Also, the 1899 U.S. Patent 627,066 by John Schnepf depicted a rear-wheel friction “roller-wheel” style drive electric bicycle. Schnepf's invention was later re-examined and expanded in 1969 by G.A. Wood Jr. with his U.S. Patent 3,431,994. Wood’s device used 4 fractional horsepower motors; connected through a series of gears.
If you live in a city, it’s quite possible that folding electric bikes are the ultimate commuting machine. The huge number of convenience factors provided by a folding electric bike make it the smartest choice for use when traveling around the city daily. You have the versatility of a bicycle – the ability to switch to sidewalks, go around traffic, and ride in tight spaces – with the convenience of a powered form of transportation.
Tern has been in business since only 2011, but it has an interesting pedigree: It was formed by the son and wife of David Hon, none other than Dahon’s founder. This development has proven to be a boon for folding-bike buyers, with Tern quickly turning out folding models of excellent quality. The Link D8, Tern’s best seller, is feature-packed, with just enough upgrades to merit the current $150 premium over the Dahon Mariner D8—if those upgrades matter to you.
Brompton - sometimes referred to as the "Jaguar" of folding bicycles, this British import folds smaller than any other model into a package that locks together and keeps the chain away from your clothes. It also can coast about in its folded state on suitcase-style casters (with optional rollerblade wheels for really covering distance). There is also an optional cover and saddle bag combo that turns this bike into a nondescript rolling black canvas object that cannot be identified as a bike (suitable for all "stealth" infiltrations of bike-unfriendly buildings). With its rear suspension, the Brompton is also known for its exceptional ride for a folding bike with 16" wheels. Price: about $700 for the simplest model, $1300 for a fully accessorized version with lights, fenders, a carrier, more gears, a cover, and a framed bag that attaches to the front of the bike. Its dimensions, when folded, are 22" X 22" X 10" and it ranges in weight from 24-28 pounds, depending on accessories. The Brompton folds in about 15 seconds. To see a demonstration of the folding process of the Brompton in animated .gif format, click here. Visit one of NYC's Brompton retailers at nycewheels.com.
Designed specifically for travel, the Breakaway is a full-sized road bike frame that splits in two for easy packing. Ritchey uses high-quality butted cromoly steel for the frameset, which features an efficient road riding geometry and carbon fork. A locking compression system ensures the joints won’t come apart while you’re riding, and only adds 100 grams. The Breakaway weighs 5.2 pounds and is available in five sizes. Ritchey also includes a travel-ready packing case. Build it up to suit your traveling road cycling dreams. Price: $1600.
The real purpose of folding a bike is to increase its portability. This is so that it may be more easily transported and stored, and thus allow greater flexibility in getting from A to B. Many public transportation systems ban or restrict unfolded bicycles, but allow folded bikes all or some of the time. For example, Transport for London allows folding bikes at all times on the Underground, but on buses it is down to the driver's discretion. Some transport operators only allow folding bicycles if they are enclosed in a bag or cover. Airline baggage regulations often permit folding bikes as ordinary luggage, without extra cost. Singapore has also implemented new laws to allow folding bicycles in its rail and bus transportation system, with certain size and time limitations.
Controllers for brushless motors: E-bikes require high initial torque and therefore models that use brushless motors typically have Hall sensor commutation for speed and angle measurement. An electronic controller provides assistance as a function of the sensor inputs, the vehicle speed and the required force. The controllers generally allow input by means of potentiometer or Hall Effect twist grip (or thumb-operated lever throttle), closed-loop speed control for precise speed regulation, protection logic for over-voltage, over-current and thermal protection. Bikes with a pedal assist function typically have a disc on the crank shaft featuring a ring of magnets coupled with a Hall sensor giving rise to a series of pulses, the frequency of which is proportional to pedaling speed. The controller uses pulse width modulation to regulate the power to the motor. Sometimes support is provided for regenerative braking but infrequent braking and the low mass of bicycles limits recovered energy. An implementation is described in an application note for a 200 W, 24 V Brushless DC (BLDC) motor.
Common to almost all models is that the handling is more responsive than on a full-size bike, and that can take some getting used to. It is not advised that you ride a folding bike with no hands or try any cute stunts. Gears on small-wheeled folding bikes are higher to compensate, but limited gearing on some models may slow you down. If that is a major concern for you, you might want to look more toward higher end "performance" folding bikes. If you plan to take a lot of trips that utilize transit, a bike that folds quickly and compactly may be best for you. If you are a tall rider, you may want to check out how each type of folding bike can adjust to fit you.
I am 6'1" and weigh about 240. I got a bit over 6 plus continuous miles on a full charge on rolling hills. If you are using them as a form of transportation around towns as we are, I would do some experimenting on how much distance you get per charge in the type of terrain you are riding. Based on the load and terrain it is in line with what I expected. With a bit of planning they do the job. Maybe at some point they will add a conversion kit to ... full review
We’ve updated the section on our upgrade pick, the Brompton S6L, to include information about Brompton’s recent voluntary recall. The company says that the recall is more of a safety precaution than a reaction to reported injuries or experiences of compromised quality. We’re still confident that the Brompton S6L is the best upgrade choice for a folding bike.
As you might imagine, with a category like folding bikes, selecting a pick that’s truly one-size-fits-all is pretty much impossible. After all, not only are people different sizes physically but they ride for a variety of reasons, too. With folding bikes, we homed in on the commuter segment, the riders who want to get to and from work at least a few days a week, who may have a bus, subway, or car ride within that equation, who want to bring their bike inside during the day to avoid risking theft, and who may want to carry some stuff on their bike rather than on their back. This category also covers recreational riders who want a good-quality kicking-around-town bike that they can stow in an apartment or easily tote in a car.
Folding bikes are often uncomfortable for taller riders. Not so with the 3OND. The seat and stem can extend far out of the bike, accommodating all but the tallest people. As always, be aware of extending the stem too far. You do not want to stress the cables when turning. Adding to the comfort is a basic suspension fork. Although you cannot adjust the rebound or preload, it does have a lockout option.
There are individuals who claim to have lost considerable amounts of weight by using an electric bike. A recent prospective cohort study however found that people using e-bikes have a higher BMI. By making the biking terrain less of an issue, people who wouldn't otherwise consider biking can use the electric assistance when needed and otherwise pedal as they are able. This means people of lower fitness levels or who haven't cycled in many years can start enjoying the many health benefits E-bikes have to offer. 
This electric powered mountain bike runs on a 300 watt rear motor that gives it all the power it needs. The battery is lithium which adds to the long battery life. The electric bike has an all-aluminum frame and wheels that make the bike incredibly durable, this adds to its strength. The hydraulic shocks and off-road tires provide incredible grip and traction.
A big selling point of the attractive Citizen Bike Seoul, sold direct from the company’s website, is that it comes straight out of the box ready to ride—on our test unit, even the tires were inflated. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the ride and gearing as smooth as those of bikes costing just $100 more. Though the folding and unfolding were easy, the magnets simply wouldn’t hold when the bike was folded, and it kept flopping open (especially problematic when I was carrying it down subway stairs); the company told me that an update on that was coming. Plus, the Seoul’s folded footprint was so large it wouldn’t fit through the subway turnstiles.
The suspension works, but there isn’t any true dampening. That means you’re just riding around on springs. On a real full suspension e-bike (i.e. a few thousand dollars) you get actual oil-dampened shocks. Those absorb bumps and dampen the shock. With springs, the bike bounces a few times after bumps, with the energy dissipating through the spring stretching and compressing.